Wanstead folk have already proved their generosity this Christmas, with last weekend’s Christmas Drive Thru collection garnering more than 600 gifts for children, four carloads of donations to help the Corner House Project and nearly 50 crates of food for the Redbridge Foodbank. Those efforts are continuing, as is the work of local charity legend Frank Charles, whose Give a Gift Appeal (pictured above) is again asking for brand new presents for children aged 0-16 who are in Acorn Ward at Whipps Cross Hospital.

Frank says: “This will be our 17th consecutive year and we are asking that all presents are brand new and unwrapped when delivered to Ali at Wanstead Pharmacy. We cannot accept pre-loved toys, books and games.” 

All donations need to be with Ali by 5pm on Saturday 12 December.

PS. The Cambridge Nursing Home, which last week appealed for cards and pictures for its residents, is reporting that it’s receiving loads of them – so thank you to readers who took part.

We’ve written about the number of new businesses which have started during lockdown, and here’s another one – an expert service to help people organise and declutter their homes.

Anna Potts, who has moved house with her family eight times in the past 20 years and who has modernised five properties in the process, has set up Apples and Pears which is aiming to help people who have just too much stuff (ie pretty much everyone).

Anna says: “Things have changed for everyone recently, and I wholeheartedly believe that a well organised home/garden environment can have a positive impact on your well-being.

“Anything home organising and planning is my passion – be it coordinating trades, sourcing, emptying and packing rooms prior and post works. Then the best bit – putting it all back together.”

There’s more about Apples and Pears on its Facebook page.

Wanstead folk are being asked to write a Christmas card or letter to residents of a local care home to help make Christmas more festive.

The Cambridge Nursing Home on Cambridge Park is inviting people to become “festive friends”, saying: “With Christmas just around the corner, we need your help to bring the amazing festive Wanstead community spirit to our residents.”

The home, which is rated good by the CQC, is asking for letters, cards or drawings to be sent to 61 Cambridge Park, E11 2PR.

This is a jolly good idea – and there’s no reason why, with about a dozen care homes in Wanstead, that people shouldn’t adopt their local home and show it some socially distant and COVID-compliant love. Let us know how you get on.

In this episode: the door on Wanstead’s neglected (but much admired) phone box is back. Meanwhile the Wanstead Society reports it is not allowed, as a charity, to take on custodianship of the box. But the Wanstead Community Gardeners are developing an option where the phone box could be converted into a miniature hothouse.

The long-running saga of weird inscriptions appearing on benches appears to have jumped the shark. An anti-Thatcher plaque has been placed on a bench in Wanstead, but we now think we’re all being played by attention seekers. So it’s a no from us.

Family and friends of Jill Stock, the much-loved Wanstead character who was killed in a road traffic collision last year, are raising money for a bench on Wanstead High Street in her memory.

Jill was a stalwart of community activities, including Neighbourhood Watch, PTAs, street parties and many small acts of kindness. Her daughter Kate, writing on a fundraising site, said:

Mum was a friend to so many –  she would do anything to help someone in need. She cared for everyone, especially the old and vulnerable, and she hated injustice. When something was wrong and needed resolving nobody was more tenacious than our Mum. She loved Wanstead – she said it was ‘a very special community’ so in her memory, we’d like to put a bench in Wanstead High Street in memory of this very special person.

Contributions can be made via this page.